Garnet Valley High School: End of an Era

Today’s the day that the last of the five Price children, Kiley​, walks through those hallowed halls of Garnet Valley High School​ as a student.
This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

Along with her and my other siblings, Somers​, Connor​, and Hunter​, we’ve been bastions of the school district since 1998! I can only hope we’ve left a legacy of being top of our respective classes and rockstars on the football fields, ice hockey rinks, volleyball and basketball courts, and halftime shows (HA, Hunter, you nerd).
My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

We were on yearbook committee and student council, Students of the Month; Most School Spirit; Best Sense of Humor.

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2 in a crop top

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2… in a crop top

We went to France and probably terrorized Canada (sorry, Canada).
So Parisian, that Kiley.

So Parisian, that Kiley.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

We sold overpriced candy to unsuspecting underclassmen and turned mad profit (future finance bro in the making or WHAT?!). We snuck into the teachers lounge and made photocopies of our faces (the original selfie?)
Ghost Girls

Ghost Girls

We snuck ice cream out of other schools’ cafeterias (budding foodie on a budget!). We stole kisses from our peers in dark corners of the school grounds (can’t tell you which of us did that, but I’ll go ahead and let you know it was more than just one). We even dressed up sometimes…
MWA!

MWA!

Look at those studs!

Look at those studs!

We were popular, and not so popular; cool, and not very cool.  But through it all (even if it’s only in my imagination) we crushed our academic, social, and extracurricular careers at GV for the past 16-17 years.
Sunkissed sibs

SunkissedSunburned sibs

And Santa sibs

And Santa sibs

Cheers to Dana​ and Chip “Not on Facebook” Price for the end of fundraisers, Friday nights at another football game, meetings with counselors that didn’t know our gender (“Jordan’s doing so well in all of his classes!”), long talks with administrators about god knows what, working snack bar shifts, traveling to ANOTHER volleyball match/football game/ice hockey arena, and doing it all happily, with smiles on their faces.
That time we barely made the wedding!

That time we barely made the wedding!

It’s been a good run, Garnet Valley. And as much as we’ve joked or complained about it, I couldn’t have asked for a better school for my family to attend.

Congratulations, Kiley (and belated congrats to Hunter, Connor, and Somers!) Whether you’re a Deacon, a Terp, a Lion, a Wildcat or, best of all, a Tar Heel, remember… You were a Jaguar first.

Advice I Wish I’d Received 4 Years Ago

It’s graduation time for undergrads the world over (or at least the US over. I don’t know how other countries operate). In fact, Penn’s commencement was yesterday (which made me mostly uninterested in getting anywhere near campus.) And as my social media outlets are crammed with Instagrams of grad caps and heartfelt Facebook statuses bidding institutions of learning fond farewells (or less-than-fond ‘f*** you’s, for the jaded grads), I can’t help but harken back to 2009, my own college graduation year. Chapel Hill does grad weekend right, and the sun was shining as the Carolina blue reminded all of us that Mother Nature is probably a Tar Heel.

The Gang's all here!

The Gang’s all here!

The weeks leading up to graduation were some of the most socially packed, emotionally wrecked weeks of my life. It wasn’t until I’d received a formal hiring letter that I finally let myself breathe. My partner at the time didn’t understand why I was getting so worked up (he, a year younger, was still a ways off from the panic I was experiencing, and wasn’t one for panicking regardless.) And after a weekend of pomp AND circumstance, a jaunt back north for a mini “summer” (during which I broke my left foot, not part of the ideal “summer break”), I went back to Carolina, ready to begin my grown up life.

Like a butterfly, ready to flap her wings out of the cocoon!!

Like a butterfly, ready to flap her wings out of the cocoon!!

Only, I’ll be totally honest, the first 9 months after my graduation were some of the most miserable of my life.

Isn’t that awful? I recognize that this was largely my own doing, but that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to remember… Four years removed, I’ll say I picked up a little perspective. And there are heaps of advice I’d give myself… But I’ll stick with the stuff that might actually be valuable for sharing with the general population, not those pieces that would only be relevant to me (i.e. stop watching your friends play frisbee if you have a broken foot, it will only make you depressed.)

1. Don’t live beyond your means, but try to at least live a little. I had this confused world view which led me to believe that until I had heaps of money saved, I should live like a hermit. I didn’t use the AC or the heat during the wild seasonal extremes that Carolina loves so much. Shivering under blankets in my own home in the middle of the winter was not only unpleasant, but just dumb. Turn the heat up. Bask in the fact that you’re making SOME money. Take the Slanket off for ten minutes.

Don't let the smile fool you. This is stupid.

Don’t let the smile fool you. This is stupid.

2. Figure out your body chemistry. I mean this specifically regarding alcohol. And I’ll follow up by saying I’m STILL working on this. I wish someone had slapped me upside the head at graduation and been like “HEY! Just a heads up, you can no longer handle the following: shots (including, but not limited to, shots from glasses, bottle shots, body shots), beer bongs, drinking games where the only goal is not skill but speed-consumption, mixing alcohol types of any kind, and probably a number of options you haven’t even thought of yet.”

Chances are, though, someone WILL slap you upside the head with that information at some point in your life, and you’ll still take a few years for it to sink in. So thanks to that person who slapped me with it, and sorry that I’m not faster at taking it to heart. I’m a work in progress.

3. Learn to feed yourself right. Now, this one kind of went with the Living within my means/hermit lifestyle, but my steady diet of rice, black beans, cheese, and chicken if I felt like “treating myself” did not a healthy woman make.

Woops.

Woops.

The occasional entire massive turkey leg or frozen pepperoni pizza probably didn’t help either.

Learn the deals at your grocery store, figure out what you like that ALSO is healthy, and enjoy those “treat yourself” treats occasionally. Not nightly.

4. Get a gym membership. And don’t get the cheapest one. Because if it’s super cheap, I bet you won’t go. Just saying. Financial commitment SOMETIMES means ACTUAL commitment. Not always, but enough.

5. For the LOVE OF GOD meet some grown-up, totally new friends.

Whew, y'all are lifesavers.

Whew, y’all are lifesavers.

College buddies are great, don’t get me wrong. So are those “Lifers” that you’ve known since elementary, middle, or high school. But after about a year and a half of longing for the days of bar-hopping on Franklin Street and feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t just stumble out of my room and be surrounded by fraternity brothers and sisters, I took some action. And I decided I, to, could make friends OUTSIDE of school.

This has been the best decision of my “grown-up” life, thus far.

It’s not as hard or as scary as you might think. There are websites entirely dedicated to meeting new people. Get on Yelp, on Meetup, find something going on in your community, join an adult rec league for sports (that was my preferred method for my favorite post-college gang). Maybe you’re even lucky enough to work somewhere where you can find (GASP) work friends!

Whatever you do, though, find some buddies. It stops you from living in the past, and makes it all that sweeter when you DO go back to your college/high school/preschool buddies and show them how cool you still are, even after all these years.

Here’s the thing: there’s no “right way” to grow up, I guess. Hell, I haven’t even done it yet, hence the whole “college 2.0” idea of grad school. But I think those little bits and pieces of advice would’ve helped ease the transition.

I hope they help ease someone’s transition.